One of the most important – and unavoidable variants for any funeral is choosing a funeral officiant, that is deciding who will facilitate the actual funeral.
The decision can be a difficult one, especially if the deceased did not specify any final wishes. Will it be a clergy member, a trusted family member or a celebrant? Knowing your choices, and what to consider when choosing, is imperative to making a decision that will honour your loved one.
Consider the clergy
Clergy members belong to a particular religious order and must follow the rules of that religion when conducting a funeral service. If the deceased attended a church regularly, this may be a good option. Choosing a clergy member from their church ensures their funeral aligns with their treasured beliefs. Many people, whether spiritual or religious, find comfort in funerals performed by clergy. Additionally, these kinds of funerals are often easier to plan because the clergy use traditional formats. They can still plan a more personalised service but must stay within religious requirements.
What about a celebrant?
Celebrants differ from clergy in that they are certified officiants, but they do not follow particular religious rituals. A celebrant follows the family’s or the deceased’s wishes when planning the funeral and have more flexibility than clergy. Consider the experience of the celebrant to ensure you’re getting the best choice for the kind of funeral you imagine. Also, many celebrants are part of larger associations, which means that if the celebrant is unable to perform the ceremony at the last minute, the association could typically send another celebrant in their place.
Consider yourself and the family
Performing a funeral does not require legal status. Thus, a family member is welcome to plan and perform the service. However, feelings of overwhelming grief often prevent family members from choosing this option – yet some believe this is the best way to honour their deceased. Ensure you or the family member is adequately prepared to handle this task before accepting.
Consider the cost
After you have considered the options on who can perform the service, take a look at your funeral budget. This will help to guide you further as you make your choice. Some clergy will do complimentary funerals for deceased church members, whilst hiring a celebrant may be costly.
There are many organisation who can offer help and assistance when looking for a funeral celebrant. Try somewhere like the Institute of Civil Funerals www.iocf.org.uk